It is no mistake that Romney is holding a final rally in New Hampshire on Monday, and this is a key state despite its having just four electoral votes. The late push should add to support from New Hampshire’s large block of independents that will vote on Tuesday, giving a small but important win to Romney.
I believe Romney wins fairly easily if for no other reason than the lack of either campaign’s making a real play here. If Team Obama expected the race to be close, it would be making a more obvious push, but the campaign has left it to surrogates for the final stretch.
The keystone of the whole election is Ohio. If Romney wins the state, it’s almost impossible for him to lose the election. If he loses here, he’ll need to pull together a few other tough states to win. The polls have not shown a consistent lead for Romney the entire campaign, but I still believe Romney will win Ohio. The early voting looks substantially different than it did in 2008, which will cut into the margins Obama needs before we get to the in-person voting on Tuesday. I’ve gone over this state countless times, and my overall feeling has not changed — Romney is going to take Ohio, and with it the election.
Romney’s making a big move into Pennsylvania in the final week is by design. The state does not have the large early-voting program that states such as Ohio and Florida have, and Republicans have managed to build a big lead among absentee voters. This has given Romney a chance to catch the Obama team off guard and pull off the last-minute upset. I think it’s going to be very close — there is the potential for a win here if Republicans can turn out every vote they can find — but for right now I think Obama holds on because of the heavy margins he will get from the Philly area.
The Old Dominion is a must-win for Romney, and he is visiting Virginia in the final days of the election to shore up enough support to carry it. Polls have been close in Virginia, which Obama carried by almost seven points in 2008. But, while it will be tight, Romney will eke out a win in Virginia.
The recall elections in 2010 and 2011 led Republicans to build a massive get-out-the-vote machine that has now been tested. Combine this already-assembled machine with Paul Ryan’s appeal, and you can understand why Wisconsin is such a competitive state. This could be razor thin, but I believe Romney will carry it thanks to very strong turnout among the base.
My final Electoral College prediction is 295 for Romney to 243 for Obama. We’ll find out in two days how close I am, but if Republicans come out Tuesday like the party-identification polls from Gallup and Rasmussen have predicted, I feel confident that Romney is going to shock the conventional wisdom set by the media and be announced as the next president of the United States.
— Josh Jordan is a small-business market-research consultant. You can follow him on Twitter @Numbersmuncher.